So Here goes-Jerry Seinfeld's Rules for Raising Children:
- Rule #1: The Poison of Praise: "We tell our kids, 'Great job!' too much.
- Rule #2: Poison of Problem Solving: "We refuse to let our children have problems. Problem-solving is the most important skill to develop for success in life, and we for some reason can't stand it if your kids have a situation that they need to 'fix.' Let them struggle--it's a gift."
In my town there is a Christian Liberal Arts College. It is rumored, though the college would probably deny it, that they started a "Parents Orientation Group" several years back just to get them out of the way so they could "orient" the students without having to have all the parents in the way.
I think, perhaps, teaching children to be part of the family, to do chores and contribute, might be the way to start training children who can problem solve for themselves.
- Rule #3: Poison of giving children too much pleasure: Example of this, according to Seinfeld is a woman comes into a deli with two children and buys them all HUGE cookies! "Can you believe this?" Seinfeld says, "It's 5:30 pm--when do they have dinner? At 8?"
Seinfeld's theory is: "We feel so guilty for destroying that [childhood] innocence--which is what we did---so we're now trying to repair that by creating perfect childhoods for our children."
I am not sure about that.
I think the problem is that most parents have so little time to spend with their children that when they are with them they don't want any conflict. They want fun, happy times--not times where they have to be the big-bad-mommy [or daddy].
But, Seinfeld's last comment had me feeling like he was a kindred spirit: "Kids are not going to do what you tell them to do or think like you tell them to think," he says. "Kids are watching how you deal with that waiter or that handyman, and they are probably more likely to imitate you."
Ah, that is right on. Character is caught not taught.
So, hats off to Jerry Seinfeld! Under that funny exterior lies a lot of child-rearing wisdom.
Seinfeld Quotes taken from The Parade Magazine, 2/14/2010
Pictures, top to bottom: Parenting in the 50's--Bob with his Mom, sister and brother.
Parenting in the 80's-Bob holding Dusty, My sister Joy holding Chad and I'm holding Cris.